The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act: A Major Step Forward
Statement from PA Budget and Policy Center, Keystone Research Center, and 99% PA Campaign
In passing the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last night, the House of Representatives advanced the first of two parts of President Biden’s investment agenda. The over $1 billion infrastructure bill will generate the largest expenditure on the physical infrastructure of our country in decades. It will make huge new investments in roads and bridges, railroads and public transit, clean drinking water, high-speed internet, and repairing the damage to land and water from extractive industries. These and other investments will reduce costs for businesses and consumers, make our economy more competitive, and together with the second part of the Build Back Better plan, create an average of 1.5 million good new jobs per year, many of which will be unionized. It takes time to enact major legislation of this kind. But the result is ultimately what matters and the benefits of this legislation will be felt in this country for decades.
As important as the House passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act is the announcement that there is a majority in the House to pass the second part of President Biden’s agenda, the Build Back Better plan is important as well. It is critical that the investments in human infrastructure—in health care, child care, families, and new opportunities for immigrants—and in additional steps to head off climate change be enacted soon. The agreement on a plan that includes all the elements we discussed last week and new provisions that will reduce the cost of pharmaceuticals and create a paid family and medical leave plan, is a huge step forward.
The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has been billed as a “bipartisan” measure. It did pass the Senate with 19 Republican votes. Sadly, only 13 Republicans in the House supported the bill, raising questions about the commitment of Republicans to building a stronger economy and to the idea of bipartisanship itself. We were gratified to see that Republican Representative Brian Fitzpatrick of Bucks County voted for the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act last night. We hope he will also recognize the benefits that the Build Back Better Plan brings to all his constituents, native-born and immigrants.